NOVA Network 2

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This is the sharpest image ever taken by ALMA — sharper than is routinely achieved in visible light with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. It shows the protoplanetary disc surrounding the young star HL Tauri. These new ALMA observations reveal substructures within the disc that have never been seen before and even show the possible positions of planets forming in the dark patches within the system.

This ALMA image of the young star HL Tauri provides a remarkable insight into the proces of planet formation. The gaps in the circumstellar disk are presumably being cleared by protoplanetary bodies. Image courtesy ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO).

Network 2: Formation and evolution of stars and planetary systems

Network 2 studies the physics and chemistry of the interstellar medium, its collapse to form new stars and protoplanetary disks, the formation of planets, and the subsequent evolution of those stars and planets. Its main themes are: (i) Massive stars: how do they form and shape their environment and the Universe? (ii) Planet formation in disks: what determines the architecture of planetary systems? (iii) Extrasolar planets: towards characterization of Earth-like planets; (iv) The molecular Universe: inventory, chemical pathways and diagnostic applications.

Recent results include the first views into forming planetary systems around young stars at resolutions of 10 AU and better using ALMA and VLT-SPHERE. Also data from the Herschel Space Observatory continue to produce exciting results on water and on feedback processes in the interstellar medium. Other VLT instrumentation including X-Shooter and CRIRES deliver crucial data for the study of extrasolar planets, jets and winds from protoplanetary disk systems, and massive stars in the Galaxy and in the Magellanic clouds. On the experimental side, the Sackler Laboratory for Astrophysics continues to play an important role underpinning our understanding of the physical and chemical processes that occur during star and planet formation. Theoretical studies of physical processes and extensive modeling of observed data are the backbone for understanding the new results, and an integral part of all projects.

 

Network 2 members:

Prof. dr.  I. Snellen (chair) UL
Dr. A. Brown (nw1 & nw2) UL
Dr. J.-M. Desert UvA
Prof. dr. E.F. van Dishoeck UL
Prof. dr. C. Dominik UvA
Dr. M. Haverkorn  (nw1 & nw2) RU
Dr. M. Hogerheijde UL
Prof. dr. I. Kamp RUG
Prof. dr. L. Kaper UvA
Prof. dr. C.U. Keller UL
Dr. M.A. Kenworthy UL
Prof. dr. A. de Koter UvA
Prof. dr. H.V.J. Linnartz UL
Dr. S. de Mink (nw2 & nw3) UvA
Prof. dr. Spaans RUG
Prof. dr. A.G.G.M. Tielens UL